EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Feasibility of Ion-cyclotron Resonant Heating in the Solar Wind

Roberto E. Navarro1, Victor Muñoz2, Juan A. Valdivia2, and Pablo S. Moya2
Roberto E. Navarro et al.
  • 1Universidad de Concepcion, Facultad de Ciencias Fisicas y Matematicas, Departamento de Fisica, Chile (
  • 2Departamento de Fisica, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Chile, Chile

Wave-particle interactions are believed to be one of the most important kinetic processes regulating the heating and acceleration of Solar Wind plasma. One possible explanation to the observed preferential heating of alpha (He+2) ions relies on a process similar to a second order Fermi acceleration mechanism. In this model, heavy ions are able to resonate with multiple counter-propagating ion-cyclotron waves, while protons can encounter only single resonances, resulting in the subsequent preferential energization of minor ions. In this work, we address and test this idea by calculating the number of plasma particles that are resonating with ion-cyclotron waves propagating parallel and anti-parallel to an ambient magnetic field in a proton/alpha plasma with cold electrons. Resonances are calculated through the proper kinetic multi-species dispersion relation of Alfven waves. We show that 100% of the alpha population can resonate with counter-propagating waves below a threshold ΔUαp/vA<U0+a(β+β0)b in the differential streaming between protons and alpha particles, where U0=-0.532, a=1.211, β0=0.0275, and b=0.348 for isotropic ions. This threshold seems to match with constraints of the observed ΔUαp in the Solar Wind for low values of the proton plasma beta. Finally, it is also shown that this process is limited by the growth of plasma kinetic instabilities, a constraint that could explain alpha-to-proton temperature ratio observations in the Solar Wind at 1 AU.

How to cite: Navarro, R. E., Muñoz, V., Valdivia, J. A., and Moya, P. S.: Feasibility of Ion-cyclotron Resonant Heating in the Solar Wind, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-6858,, 2021.

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